Three-time Russian champion with Spartak and a former player of the national team Yuri Nikiforov September 16 marks its 50th anniversary. AiF.ru tells what the coach is doing now, whose last place of work was Dynamo"...
Commemorative goal for Nantes
Every notable acting footballer or player in the past has their own calling card. Some memorable episode from his career, as a rule, an important or beautifully hammered ball, engraved in the memory of the fans. For defender Yuri Nikiforov, who spent four years at Spartak, this is a goal against French Nantes, scored on March 20, 1996 in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup.
Unfortunately, this ball did not bring much joy to Spartak, since in the first game in France, the red and white lost to the opponent 0: 2, and drew at home - 2: 2. But the more valuable is the goal - despite the final defeat, Yuri Nikiforov's shot is still remembered today. Here, see for yourself.
Moreover, in six minutes Nikiforov will score another goal with his head and bring Spartak closer to the semifinals of the tournament. But this will not be enough ...
The defender himself, however, recalls that game without much enthusiasm: “If we had gone further, having won on aggregate, then the match, of course, would have been ranked among the best in his career. Who needs these goals now, if the French made it to the semifinals, not us ”.
These words, by the way, characterize the birthday man in the best possible way: modest, decent, responsible.
Praise from Pele
There is an episode in the footballer's biography that even those who have become great or legendary cannot boast of. Once Yura was praised by ... the king of football, Pele. How was it - Nikiforov himself recalled:
“I scored a good goal for Nigeria in the 1987 World Youth Championship final. Tolik Muschinka went down the center, rolled out to my flank, I hit and hit. And then the Africans pressed us hard, leveled the score, but we held on as best we could, brought the match to a penalty shootout, and I scored the decisive 11-meter. After the game, the King singled me out. But in fairness - not me alone. He really liked our goalkeeper Yura Okroshidze, to whom he prophesied a great future ”, - quotes a Eurosport footballer.
I wanted to stay in Japan, but ...
The last club in the career of 33-year-old Nikiforov was the Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds, for which he played 12 matches in 2003/04. But then he got a knee injury and could not continue to play for her, although the Japanese really wanted to leave the defender. But one day after the game the next morning I woke up with a swollen knee. Doctors' verdict - the cartilage on the calyx has worn off. Treatment in such cases takes at least five months, and there were only three months left until the end of the contract. In the end, there was no choice but to part peacefully, although in Japan Nikiforov and his wife really liked it.
After that, there was still an attempt to return to big football, but it did not work out. In the end, I had to hang the boots on a nail.
"Deadly tired of football"
“I'll be honest about myself: having hung my boots on a nail, I realized that I was mortally tired of football. In the first year and a half I didn't even watch it on TV. Believe it or not, neither the Champions League nor the international teams turned me on. - so psychologically blocked. I tried to do business related to real estate ”.
However, the love of football outweighed. Moreover, Nikiforov's best friend Dmitry Khokhlov, with whom they played together in the Dutch PSV, set the right path - to work as a trainer, you need a license, so you can't do without studying. And Nikiforov completed the necessary courses, received all the documents allowing him to work with professional clubs.
True, the first coaching experience did not work out - in Pavlodar "Irtysh" their duet with Dmitry Cheryshev did not last long.
“In December 2014, Dmitry Cheryshev called and offered a job in Pavlodar. We played together at Sporting Gijon, the relationship was good and I agreed. We took the team to Turkey, held three training camps. But then the championship began, and we didn't last long.
The main difficulty - the same as in all post-Soviet football: transfers of football players. If you do not find contact with the leaders and there is no single vector for the development of the club, there will be no business. Dima put together a good team, but he got into friction with the sports director, and it became clear that they wouldn't let us work for a long time. "
So in the end it happened - Soon Cheryshev was shown the door, and Nikiforov returned to Russia with him.
Yuri's last place of work was Dynamo Moscow. All the same Dmitry Khokhlov called his friend his assistant when he was appointed head coach. The appointment happened on October 7, 2017, but in October 2019, the team had to leave due to unsatisfactory results.
Yuri Nikiforov has been unemployed for almost a year, he devotes all his free time to his family, living in Spain. While still a football player, he acquired a house in Gijón, having received a residence permit. The 50th anniversary is going to be celebrated in a narrow family circle. There was an idea to fly to his native Odessa to visit relatives, but because of the pandemic, it is extremely difficult to do this now.